The unholy alliance of Maria and Vlad

PHOTO: Maria Vladimirovna, clearly delighted in meeting Russian president Vladimir Putin, during her visit to Moscow, in September 2012

* This article was updated with additional information on 14th March 2022

On 24th February 2022, Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of neighbouring Ukraine. Since that time, an estimated 2000+ civilians have been killed in Ukraine; cities and towns have been bombed to submission; nuclear plants have been bombed; and according to French president Macron “the worst is yet to come”.

Many monarchists and Romanovphiles awaited a statement on the invasion, from the Spanish born princess, Maria Vladimirovan, the self aclaimed “Head” of the now defunct Russian Imperial House, who resides in a luxurious apartment in Madrid, Spain.

Maria issued a carefully worded statement the same day, one which was promptly translated into English by Russell E. Martin, a prominent American mouthpiece for Maria Vladimirovna. Martin acts as both translator and International Communications Advisor to the so-called “Chancellery of Her Imperial Highness”.

Riding in Martin’s back pocket is Nicholas B.A. Nicholson, [aka “Mr. X”], a well known Facebook troll, who from April 2020 to September 2021, served as Curator of the Russian History Museum in Jordanville, NY.

Together, Martin and Nicholson coo and fawn over this ridiculous woman, and work diligently to spread her agenda to an English speaking audience in the West. Their work is aided by a small group of Legitimist zealots, most of whom are American.

In her statement, Maria noted that she is both “alarmed” and “grieved” by those who have been “pitted against each other and spilt their blood; how peaceful citizens are dying and suffering; how parents shed inconsolable tears over the coffins of their children . . . ”

She closes her statement by saying – “I, my son and heir, The Grand Duke George of Russia, and his spouse, Princess Victoria Romanovna, pray for the immediate implementation of peace.”

What is particularly disturbing, however, is Maria’s failure to acknowledge the one person who is responsible for all the blood spilt, human suffering and death: Vladimir Putin!

She further adds – “The Russian Imperial House does not make statements of a political nature, and in any event, in the current conditions we do not have complete information that would allow us to make them”.

If this so called “Empress de jure” knew anything about her ancestors, she would know, that each and every Romanov monarch was very much involved in politics. Claiming that she lacks “complete information” is a spineless wat if skirting the issue, especially given all the reliable sources available.

Several months back, Russell Martin noted in one of his articles, that the “Russian Imperial House maintained good relations with Vladimir Putin” – a comment which has since been deleted by the author. In truth, Putin merely tolerates this family, nothing more.

As an example of not getting “involved in politics”, it is interesting to note that Maria openly supported Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. Not only did she snuggle up to Putin’s agenda, she illegally awarded Natalya Poklonskaya, a popular Russian politician, who from 2014 to 2016 served as Prosecutor of the Republic of Crimea, the Imperial Order of St. Anastasia. On 30th November 2017, Poklonskaya returned the Order and nobility title.

So, in light of recent events, why has Maria Vladimirovna not spoken out against Putin? While she has kept her word—for the most part, any way—that she does not involve herself in politics, she wouldn’t dare criticize Putin, knowing the consequences which she would face. For one, her “Chancellery” would be closed in Moscow; her son and his morganatic wife—both of whom live in Moscow—would be asked to leave the country; and Maria herself would be persona non grata in Russia. In addition, their Russian passports would most likely be revoked.

If Maria Vladimirovna wants to gain any respect, then she must take a stand, and denounce the deranged Russian president, who is obsessed with destroying Ukraine, and murdering thousands of innocent men, women and children.

As one of my Facebook followers noted: “Her “statement” was a masterpiece of pomposity and obfuscation, achievemening nothing other than massaging her own ego!”

© Paul Gilbert. 5 February 2021

Maria Vladimirovna takes the “which ever way the wind blows” approach to the Ekaterinburg Remains

PHOTO: Princess Maria Vladimirovna

On 24th January, the Interfax news agency announced that “The Russian Imperial House will support a Russian Orthodox Church decision to recognize the authenticity of the remains of the last Russian emperor, Nicholas II, and members of his family.”

When referring to the “The Russian Imperial House”, the prominent Russian news agency is of course referring to the House of Romanov, the reigning Imperial House of Russia from 1613 to 1917. The Russian Imperial House ended with the murder of Russia’s last emperor Nicholas II on 17th July 1918.

Today’s so-called “Russian Imperial House” is “headed” by Princess Maria Vladimirovna, the Spanish-born granddaughter of Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich, a coward who lacked a moral compass and a traitor to Nicholas II and the Russian Empire.

According the Robert K. Massie, following the discovery of the remains of Emperor Nicholas II and most of his immediate family in 1991, Maria Vladimirovna wrote to President Boris Yeltsin (1931-2007) regarding the burial of the remains, saying of her Romanov cousins, whom she does not recognise as members of the “Imperial House” (including the grandchildren of Nicholas II’s sister Grand Duchess Xenia), that they “do not have the slightest right to speak their mind and wishes on this question. They can only go and pray at the grave, as can any other Russian, who so wishes”.[1]

She has also said, regarding her Romanov relations, that “My feeling about them is that now that something important is happening in Russia, they suddenly have awakened and said, ‘Ah ha! There might be something to gain out of this.”

At the behest of the Russian Orthodox Church, Maria did not recognise the authenticity of the remains and declined to attend the reburial ceremony in 1998, however according to Victor Aksyuchits, ex-advisor of Boris Nemtsov[2], the exact reason behind Maria’s absentance at the state burial for Nicholas II and his family in 1998 was motivated by the Russian government’s refusal to recognize her status as official Head of the Romanov House[3], after requesting such via a letter prior the funeral ceremony.

Despite Maria’s protests, President Boris Yeltsin and his wife attended the funeral along with more than 50 Romanov descendants[4] from all over the world, including Prince Michael of Kent. Members of the self-proclaimed “The Russian Imperial House”- which included Maria Vladimirovna, her son George Hohenzollern, and her mother Leonida Georgievna – were no where to be seen.

Instead, Patriarch Alexei II (1929-2008), Maria Vladimirovna, her son George Hohenzollern, and her mother Leonida Georgievna (1914-2010) attended a liturgy at the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, the most important Russian monastery and the spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church, situated in the town of Sergiyev Posad, about 70 km north-east of Moscow.

The Holy Synod opposed the government’s decision in February 1998 to bury the remains in the Peter and Paul Fortress, preferring a “symbolic” grave until their authenticity had been resolved. As a result, when they were interred on 17th July 1998, they were referred to by the priest conducting the service as “Christian victims of the Revolution” rather than the Emperor and members of his family. Patriarch Alexei II, who felt that the Church was sidelined in the investigation, refused to officiate at the burial and banned bishops from taking part in the funeral ceremony.

So, why has it taken so long for Maria Vladimirovna to acknowledge the authenticity of the Ekaterinburg Remains?[5] Accoring to Alexander Zakatov, who serves as Maria’s senior mouth piece and head of her “chancellery” in Moscow: “The Russian Imperial House – the house, not some private individuals variously related[6] – has always said: we neither affirm not deny the authenticity of the remains but are waiting for the Church’s Council to determine. Once it has done so, the Imperial House will perceive it with joy,” he said.

Maria Vladimirovna has continually claimed that “Neither I nor my son are involved in politics” – she wouldn’t dare! She would never dare speak out against either the Church or Putin. If she challenged or criticized the former, she would no doubt face the wrath of the Church. Likewise, if she challenged or criticized the latter, she would most likely be made persona non grata in Russia.

Maria Vladimirovna’s comments this week are of course political. As she has accused her relatives in the past, perhaps, she also believes ” ‘Ah ha! There might be something to gain out of this!”

NOTES:

[1] Massie, Robert. The Romanovs. The Final Chapter. New York: Random House, 1995

[2] Boris Yefimovich Nemtsov (1959-2015) was one of the most important figures in the introduction of reforms into the Russian post-Soviet economy. Nemtsov, who served as Deputy Prime Minister under President Boris Yeltsin, was charged with organizing the funeral of Nicholas II and his family in 1998. From 2000 until his death, he was an outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin. Nemtsov was assassinated on 27th February 2015, beside his Ukrainian partner Anna Durytska, on a bridge near the Kremlin in Moscow, with four shots fired from the back.

[3] In addition, many people continue to ask “why”, this woman who claims such an important title continues to live in Madrid, rather than move to Russia. The answer is again motivated by the Russian government’s refusal to recognize her status as official “Head” of the House of Romanov.

[4] At the time of the funeral, Prince Nicholas Romanovich (1922-2014) was recognized by all the living Romanov descandents as the Head of the Romanov Family, with the exception of Maria Vladimirovna, her son George Hohenzollern, and her mother Leonida Georgievna.

[5] It is interesting to note that while Maria has visited the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs at Ganina Yama, and attended the Patriarchal Liturgy held on 17th July 2018, in Ekaterinburg, she has never visited the Romanov Memorial at Porosenkov Log, where the remains of Nicholas II, his wife and three of their five children were discovered in 1991, and the remains of Tsesarevich Alexei and his sister Grand Duchess Maria were discovered in 2007.

[6] Zakatov is referring to Maria Vladimirovna’s Romanov relations, who are scattered across the globe, and for whom she continually holds in contempt, due to morganatic marriages since 1917, thus she believes that they are beneath her “status” as the self-proclaimed “head” of the now non-existent “Russian Imperial House”. Maria Vladimirovna has many detractors, all of whom refuse to recognize her claim, given that her parents [Vladimir Kirillovich and the divorced Leonida Kirby] married morganatically, and that she is the direct descandant of Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich.

© Paul Gilbert. 26 January 2022

Descendants of Russian aristocrats against the Russian Imperial House

PHOTO: Rebecca Bettarini, George Mikhailovich and Maria Vladimirovna

Earlier this month, a group of seventeen descendants of Russian aristocrats penned an open letter to the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, regarding the illegal claims from the descendants of the Russian Imperial House – Maria Vladimirovna Romanova and her son George Mikhailovich [of Prussia].

Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich!

On behalf of the many zealots of the history of Russia, as well as the descendants of the historical families of Russia, we appeal to you, to bring to your attention the falsification of the history of our country.

On 20th January 2021, on the website of the so-called “Russian Imperial House”, an announcement was made regarding the upcoming wedding of the so-called “Grand Duke George Mikhailovich” and a certain “hereditary noblewoman” Miss Rebecca Bettarini. The upcoming wedding was presented to the whole world, as the “event of the century”, of which Russia has not seen the likes of for more than a hundred years.

At the same time, the upcoming event is cynically compared with the marriage of the last Russian Emperor Nicholas Alexandrovich and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, Holy Royal Martyrs, which took place in 1894.

It is painful to see how before our very eyes there is again an attempt to legitimize the rights of the descendants of the Kirillovich branch of the Romanov family to the throne – rights that they do not have and cannot have.

For 30 years now, various supporters of the so-called “Russian Imperial House” have been trying to obtain a special status from the state for Maria Vladimirovna and her son George Mikhailovich, shamelessly falsifying both the history of the Imperial House and the history of Russia itself.

We firmly declare that we do not recognize any special rights for Maria Vladimirovna and her son George of Prussia, who according to all dynastic laws belongs not to the Russian Imperial, but to the Prussian Royal House.

The great-grandfather of George of Prussia, Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich, due to an unauthorized marriage with a divorced cousin by the Emperor, was deprived of the right to the throne by Emperor Nicholas II.

Kirill Vladimirovich himself de facto renounced his rights in the days of the February Revolution, when on 1st March 1917 (before the abdication of Nicholas II) he marched with the Guards crew to the Duma and swore allegiance to the revolutionary authorities.

PHOTO: Grand Duchess Victoria Feodorovna with Adolf Hitler. September 1923.

George’s great-grandmother, Grand Duchess Victoria Feodorovna was an honorary guest at party congresses of the NSDAP [Nazi Party], where she was photographed with Hitler. Her son, George’s grandfather, Vladimir Kirillovich, after the outbreak of war in June 1941, openly supported Nazi Germany, in a special appeal urging the Russian emigration to rally under her banners.

After the war, fearing retaliation, Vladimir Kirillovich tried to hide in Liechtenstein, but the local authorities did not let him in. He then fled to Spain, where he settled under the protection of Franco.

In 1948, Vladimir Kirillovich secretly married the divorced Mrs. Kirby, nee Princess Leonida Georgievna Bagration-Mukhranskaya, entering into a morganatic marriage, which, according to the laws of the Russian Empire, denied any rights to the throne to his offspring.

The daughter of this marriage, Maria Vladimirovna, married Prince Franz Wilhelm of Prussia, a direct descendant of the German Emperor Wilhelm II, who, as you know, declared war on Russia in 1914.

Franz Wilhelm’s father, that is, George’s own grandfather, Prince Karl Franz of Prussia during the Second World War served as a lieutenant in the armoured division of the Nazi Wehrmacht. For military distinctions on the Polish front, he was awarded the Iron Cross.

Vladimir Kirillovich arbitrarily granted his son-in-law the title of Grand Duke, and Franz Wilhelm himself converted to Orthodoxy before marriage, becoming “Mikhail Pavlovich.” The marriage ended in divorce in 1985, and “Mikhail Pavlovich” returned to his Lutheran faith. From this marriage, a son, George, was born, who, according to all laws, belongs to the Prussian Royal House. However, in 1992, at the request of the Russian ambassador to Paris, Yuri Alekseevich Ryzhov, who did not understand the situation, George received a Russian passport with the surname Romanov, while according to German and French documents, his surname appears as Prussian.

Not finding a bride supposedly “equal” to his status, Prince George of Prussia decided to marry an Italian citizen Rebecca Bettarini, who unexpectedly became a “hereditary noblewoman” and, having converted to Orthodoxy in the Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg, became known as Victoria Romanovna.

The false “nobility” of Bettarini was created by Maria Vladimirovna herself, who has no right to do so. Maria actively, and completely illegally distributes orders, medals and even titles of the Russian Empire. While many orders and awards of the Russian Empire have been officially restored in the modern Russian Federation, an ordinary civilian, and not a representative of the state, distributes the same order in appearance and name to her supporters on behalf of the “Imperial House”! How can we not call them fake?

Maria Vladimirovna “awarded” the Italian diplomat Roberto Bettarini with the Order of St. Anne of the 1st degree, thanks to which his daughter turned out to be a “hereditary noblewoman of the Russian Empire”!

This whole story – the history of the Kirillovich branch of the Romanovs and their descendants in the 20th century – is a series of betrayals, lies, deceit, scams and forgeries. And now they are trying to present another forgery to the people under the guise of “Imperial House” and “Imperial wedding”.

Moreover, it has already been announced that the wedding of George of Prussia and his bride should take place in St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg, the former cathedral of the Russian Empire!

Suffice it to say that in this cathedral, when it was still made of wood, only one of the Russian sovereigns, Peter the Great, was married there! And now the self-styled heir to the Russian throne, the self-styled Grand Duke and Tsarevich, the great-grandson of the one who betrayed the oath, the grandson of the one who called on the Russian emigration to fight Russia on the side of Nazi Germany, and the man whose ancestors fought in the ranks of the Wehrmacht and before that the First World War was unleashed—will now take place there! It is impossible to imagine a greater mockery of Russian history.

We declare that neither Maria Vladimirovna nor George of Prussia have the slightest right to be considered members of the Russian Imperial Family and heirs to the Russian throne. Another adventure of this family causes irreparable damage to Russia and plays into the hands of the forces trying to discredit the great history of our country.

With deep respect and faith in the triumph of truth!

  • Natalya Aleksandrovna Vinokurova – Deputy Head of the Department for Relations with Political and Public Organizations and the Media of the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Crimea to the President of the Russian Federation.
  • Vladimir Nikolaevich Grekov – Chairman of the Association in memory of His Majesty’s Life Guards Cossack Regiment.
  • Nikolai Nikitich Dobrynin is a member of the Society for the Memory of the Imperial Guard.
  • Lidia Vladimirovna Dovydenko – editor-in-chief of the Berega magazine, secretary of the Russian Writers’ Union, candidate of philosophical sciences.
  • Igor Vasilievich Zhuravkov is a full member of the Russian Geographical Society.
  • Count Sergei Alekseevich Kapnist – Chairman of the Main Directorate of the Russian Red Cross Society of the old organization.
  • Alim Alimovich Krylov is a member of the Association for the Memory of His Majesty’s Life Guards Cossack Regiment.
  • Prince Nikita Dmitrievich Lobanov-Rostovsky is an honorary member of the presidium and co-founder of the International Council of Russian Compatriots, an honorary member of the Russian Academy of Arts.
  • Gleb Borisovich Lukyanov is a member of the St. Petersburg branch of the All-Russian Society for the Protection of Historical and Cultural Monuments.
  • Dmitry Dmitrievich Lobkov – Chairman of the Regional Coordinating Council of Russian Compatriots in America, New Zealand and Australia.
  • Ivan Yurievich Matveev – Deputy Chairman of the Imperial Society of Zealots in Memory of Emperor Paul I.
  • Princess Julia Romanova is the widow of Prince Mikhail Andreevich, an honorary member of the Association of members of the Romanov family.
  • Anton Andreevich Skirda – Chairman of the Council of the Federal Building Association of Consumer Society “OUR DOM”.
  • Prince Alexander Alexandrovich Trubetskoy – Chairman of the Society for the Memory of the Imperial Guard, Chairman of the Franco-Russian Alliance Association, member of the International Coordinating Council of Russian Compatriots.
  • The Marquis Ivan Farache di Villaforesta is the grandson of Prince Ioann Konstantinovich, an honorary member of the Association of the members of the Romanov family.
  • Ekaterina Sergeevna Fedorova – Doctor of Culturology, Professor of Lomonosov Moscow State University.
  • Count Pyotr Petrovich Sheremetev – Chairman of the Russian Musical Society in Paris and Rector of the Paris Russian Conservatory named after Sergei Rachmaninoff. Honorary Chairman of the Presidium of the International Coordinating Council of Russian Compatriots.

Click HERE to read my article Paul Gilbert Cuts Ties with the Russian Imperial House, published on 5th February 2021.

© Paul Gilbert. 28 April 2021

“The Russian Imperial House ended with the murder of Nicholas II”

 

Earlier this month, I announced that I was severing ties with the Russian Imperial House. My post on Facebook generated nearly 700 “LIKES” and more than 200 comments, and remains the No. 1 most widely read post on my Nicholas II blog for 2021. In addition, I received dozens of emails in support of my decision. One letter in particular stood out amongst all the rest. It came from a descendant of the Galitzine family, one of the largest noble houses of Russia. 

Dear Mr. Gilbert,

I always admired your many articles and pictures that you have shared over the years with your readers, but it was a problem for me for a long time in regard to your former stance on Princess Maria Vladimirovna. The whole Kirillichivi line committed acts of treason against the late Emperor Nicholas II from the start. Even during the reign of Emperor Nicholas II, that branch of the family was malicious and constantly fetching plots to undermine the Emperor. After the revolution, the disgraceful actions of the Kyrillichi continued. My mother’s great uncle, Prince Dimitri Galitzine Mouravline who was very close to Emperor Nicholas II, initially supported Grand Duke Kirill, but eventually broke all ties with this family line. In the European emigration, the larger half of the Russian emigrants did not support the Kirillichi. No other Grand Duke or Prince pretended to be heir to the Russian throne. They lived their lives humbly and normally.

You are absolutely correct to say that the Russian Imperial House ended with the murder of Emperor Nicholas II, and there are absolutely no eligible candidates alive today to ascend to the non-existent Russian throne. Should Russia decide to elect a new monarch, they will need to convene a new Zemsky Sobor as was done in 1613 and find a suitable candidate. Emperor Nicholas II had the authority to change the Pauline Laws of Succession, but he chose not to. Thus, to recognize these self serving nobodies as claimants to the throne is like casting a stone against the sainted Emperor Nicholas II. This is a bad farce that is being perpetuated by simple con artists, and it is so sad to say that Maria Vladimirovna was nee a Romanova.

Maria Vladimirovna never had or has any authority to give out titles or awards as she is not and never was a ruling monarch. According to the Pauline Laws, no woman could ascend to the throne in Russia. After Emperor Peter the Great, the Romanov line ended. The Holstein-Gottrop line commenced with Emperor Peter III, and annexed the Romanov name to continue the “legitimate claim” for the throne. However, due to the disputed paternal identities of who fathered who in those days, the only thing that can be ascertained for sure is that the DNA indicates a direct descendant relationship from Emperor Nicholas I to Emperor Nicholas II.

According to stories of those who witnessed the trip of Emperor Nicholas II and his family to Diveevo, the Emperor received a letter from St. Seraphim of Sarov that was written over a 100 years before the last Imperial Family’s visit. The letter foretold of the demise of Russia and of their fate. The family was very saddened and depressed after having read the letter. They lived in fear for many years prior to the revolution, but Emperor Nicholas II (regardless of his short comings or what people said of him) never left Russia or abandoned his post. He met his fate head on and died for his people. He demonstrated great strength and courage to be martyred as did his family. He was a very kind person and I know of things that he did for people near him that showed his compassion and love for them. He also viewed himself as being morally responsible for his family and relatives and as such he exiled and or punished his relatives periodically, but eventually forgave them. This was perceived to be a “weakness” for which certain family members and people mocked him. He was a fun loving, gentle soul who feared God. He did not possess a personality that would have rendered him a despot, so he stayed true to his faith while others took advantage of him.

Being Orthodox and having knowledge about the rulers of Russia, I can say that the 2 key words that best describe the last Russian monarch are “atonement” and “forgiveness”. Emperor Nicholas II believed he had a responsibility to atone to God for the sins of his people and forgive those who would bring harm to him and his people. Most people do not understand this. There could not be a better last Emperor who will remain a Russian Emperor in Eternity other than St. Emperor Nicholas II. This is not to say that he was perfect or was loved by all, or accepted as a martyr, because he like all of us, was a sinner and had many weaknesses. However, God chose him to show His favor on him. God allowed him to be martyred and that says it all.

People are delusional and short-sighted. This is the sad case of Maria Vladimirovna. May God have mercy on her! All must be done for the Glory of God, not for self-serving purposes. Her actions reveal who she really is. Congratulations to you on seeing the Truth.

For privacy reasons, I have withheld the writer’s name – PG

© Paul Gilbert. 17 February 2021

Paul Gilbert cuts ties with Russian Imperial House

PHOTO: Maria Vladimirovna and her son George Mikhailovich

NOTE: this article was updated with additional information on 12th February 2021 – PG

For the record, I hereby announce that I am cutting all ties with the Russian Imperial House. I no longer support Maria Vladimirovna and her son George Mikhailovich. Further, I am severing all ties with the Russian Legitimists and their cause.

Today, I have returned by mail the Order of St. Stanislaus 3rd Class (2013), and the Order of St. Anna 3rd Class (2016), and also withdraw my oath of allegiance to Maria and her son, dated and signed 03/14/16.

During the February Revolution of 1917, Maria’s grandfather Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich (1876-1938), marched to the Tauride Palace in Petrograd at the head of the Naval Guards bearing a red armband and swore allegiance to the Russian Provisional Government. In 1926, Kirill proclaimed himself emperor-in-exile, but his claims were contested by a number of grand dukes, grand duchesses, princes and princesses of the Imperial Blood in exile, as well as monarchists in a division that continues to this day.

Many monarchists (including myself) and those faithful to the memory of Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II, believe that Kirill’s act of treason in 1917, should eliminate the Vladimir branch of the Russian Imperial Family from any further consideration.  

I no longer wish to involve myself in the dynastic squabbles which continue to this day between Legitimists and those monarchists who dispute Maria’s claim as Head of the Russian Imperial House.

While I am a devout monarchist, I do not recognize any person as the claimant to the now defunct throne of Russia. I believe that the Russian monarchy ceased to exist upon the abdication of the Sovereign Emperor Nicholas II on 15th (O.S. 2nd) March 1917 and the murder of both the Tsar and his family on 17th July 1918. If the monarchy is ever to be restored in 21st century Russia, it is up to the citizens of Russia to make that decision, no one else.

I will continue to devote my time to researching and writing about the life and reign of Nicholas II, and committing myself to clearing his much slandered name.

© Paul Gilbert. 5 February 2021

Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna on Emperor Nicholas II

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Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna poses near a portrait of Nicholas II

In 2016, the Head of the Russian Imperial House HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna graciously consented to an interview with Paul Gilbert, Editor of the semi-annual journal Royal Russia, in which she speaks candidly on a wide range of topics on the past, present and future of the Russian Imperial House..

Of particular interest to adherents to Russia’s last emperor and tsar, are the following excerpts from the interview pertaining to Nicholas II.

For nearly a century, the last Emperor of Russia, Nicholas II, has been maligned and slandered by Western historians and biographers. In your opinion, how have these historians and authors been mistaken about Nicholas II?

No one can prevent historical figures from being criticized. But one must distinguish objective criticism from slander and defamation. Both positive and negative assessments must be supported by evidence that emerges from the careful study and analysis of historical sources.

We are all judged by the fruits of our actions. Russia in the reign of Emperor Nicholas II grew in population by 150% and its rate of economic growth was the highest in the entire world. Labour laws in Russia were among the most progressive anywhere, which was acknowledged even by President Taft of the United States. The great Russian academic Dmitrii Mendeleev, the French economist Edmond Teri, and other researchers have written about the strength and development of Russia in these years and have shown that Nicholas II actually achieved a lot for his country during his reign.

Some might say that because the reign of Nicholas II ended in revolution, any accomplishments he may have had lose their value and meaning. But that’s not the right way to look at it.

I think you would agree that, if a driver is unable to prevent a grenade from going off in his car, it doesn’t mean that he was a bad driver or that the car had some defect or had been poorly constructed or hadn’t been maintained in good working condition.

Absolutely—Emperor Nicholas II, like any human being or statesman, was not without sin and certainly did make mistakes.

But he was a man of deep faith, a great patriot, an honourable, genuine, and humane man, who with courage and integrity bore all the hardships that fate had delivered to him, both during his reign and afterward.

In canonizing him as a passion-bearer, the Holy Church affirmed that Emperor Nicholas II was one of the principal moral guides of our people. And I believe that this decision by the hierarchy of the Church resonates in the hearts of my countrymen.

Thus while I certainly do not deny the right of historians to debate the correctness or mistakes on this or that decision made by Emperor Nicholas II, I cannot condone those who try to blacken his memory or depict him as a dull and shallow-minded man who cared only about his family.

There is simply no substantiation in the historical sources for that view of him.

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Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna at the monument to Nicholas II in Evtaporia, Crimea

In your view, why is the rehabilitation of the Tsar-Martyr Emperor Nicholas II by the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation so important for a proper understanding of Russian history?

Some misunderstand the meaning of the word “rehabilitation,” thinking that it connotes a kind of “amnesty.”

In point of fact, however, the rehabilitation of the victims of political repression is a recognition that such people were the targets of illegal action perpetrated in the name of the government and that these actions be deemed formally by the government today as illegal and the victims be recognized as having being entirely innocent and have their honour, integrity, and good name fully and legally restored to them.

For the Russian government today, the rehabilitation of the Holy Royal Passion-Bearer Emperor Nicholas II, his family, other murdered members of our House, and their faithful physician and attendants, has an enormous legal and moral significance.

The Russian Federation is the legal successor of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic—the RSFSR—and of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics—the USSR.

A local governmental organ, which exercised full political authority at that time—the Ural Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies—passed a death sentence on the Emperor, his family and their servants, and the supreme governmental organs of Soviet Russia—the All-Russian Central Executive Committee and the Soviet of People’s Commissars—recognized this decision as correct and approved it.

Until 2008, the Presidium of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation had not ruled on my petition for the rehabilitation of the Royal Martyrs, and so from a legal point of view the executions continued to be considered lawful and justified.

Neither the canonization of the Royal Family by the Church nor the statements from various leaders of the country condemning the murders carried any legal weight. So we had a situation where the Church and the faithful considered Nicholas II and his family saints, many others of our countrymen considered them, if not saints, at least as innocent victims of terror, and the government? It saw them as criminals deserving of death.

Of course, that was an absurd and unsustainable situation—and a bloody burden from which the government needed to free itself.

Thank God, the highest court in the land concurred with the arguments I presented and finally made the correct and legal ruling on the matter.

I would especially like to acknowledge and thank the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Vyacheslav Lebedev, for his part in reaching this ruling. He delved deeply into the matter and put an end to this on-going violation of the law. Before the ruling came down on October 1, 2008, rehabilitating the murdered members of the Imperial Family, we did not know him at all or what he thought about our legal arguments or about us in general. But he researched the question on his own and agreed with my petition on its merits, issuing his ruling “On the Rehabilitation of the Victims of Political Repression” entirely on the basis of the historical facts alone.

This ruling on the rehabilitation of the Imperial Family, their relatives and faithful servants, all murdered by the atheistic and totalitarian Communist regime, is perhaps one of the best pieces of evidence that Russia has undergone a colossal positive change in its understanding of the country’s past and has made important strides forward in the defense of human rights today.

* * *

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CLICK ON THE IMAGE ABOVE TO ORDER 

The interview was published in the No. 11 issue of Royal Russia in January 2017. The 19 page interview, features 15 black and white photographs, courtesy of the Russian Imperial House.

Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna speaks candidly on a wide range of topics on the past, present and future of the Russian Imperial House.

These include memories of her parents, Grand Duke Vladimir Kirillovich and Grand Duchess Leonida; the alleged treason by her grandfather Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich in the wake of the 1917 Revolution; the rehabilitation of Emperor Nicholas II in 2008; her relationship with the Russian Orthodox Church in post-Soviet Russia; the new investigation of the Ekaterinburg remains; the reunification of Crimea with the Russian Federation, the situation in Ukraine – and numerous other topics.

© Paul Gilbert. 21 February 2020